Handbrake is a very nice tool - 'just works' in most cases, has good presets so you don't need to know arcane compression options. They just released a new version - which drops support for .AVI and few other things. I think it's great to see this happen - it's not that common for projects to cut features instead of half-supporting them. On the other hand some devices only work with .avi - so I'll keep the old version around.
Another remarcable thing about Handbrake - they link statically, the binary has only very basic dependencies.
The official download is for Ubuntu 9.10 - I had to compile from source, the CLI version is easy to compile - for GUI you need webkit and few other things, so I'll wait for an official backport.
The only trick for compiling CLI is also compiling current yasm from source, the version in hardy is too old. Simple configure/make install works, just make sure you remove the package with "apt-get remove yasm" if you have the old version installed.
Required packages (besides libtool/autoconf/build-essentials): zlib1g-dev libbz2-dev intltool libglib2.0-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libgtk2.0-dev libhal-dev libhal-storage-dev libnotify-dev libgstreamer0.10-dev libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-dev
Compiled binary, if you want to skip the compilation -
"gzip -d HandBrakeCLI-0.9.4.gz ; chmod +x HandBrakeCLI-0.9.4"
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